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IP & Legal Committee

Purpose and Function: The Copyright Committee (now called the Intellectual Property & Legal Committee) was founded in 1994 in the wake of the digital era to protect and advance the rights and interests of broadcasters in the various international negotiations on copyright issues that are conducted in forums like the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

The change of the name was approved by the 53rd ABU General Assembly in 2016 in Bali, Indonesia. This change was necessary to reflect the wider issues around intellectual property in the industry and by not confining itself to copyright only. The Committee also felt that there was a need to discuss the broader legal issues surrounding broadcasters as technologies advance and the fundamentals of the broadcasting industry are constantly challenged.

The Committee Meeting is open to all ABU Full, Additional Full and Associate members. Members are represented by officials working in their Legal or Intellectual Property/Copyright Departments. The Committee works in close collaboration with regional broadcasting unions and international broadcasting associations around the world in lobbying for the adoption of a Broadcaster’s Treaty under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The Committee Forum on the other hand is opened to all members and is normally held on the second day of the two-day event. There is no fee to be a member of the Committee Meeting.

Seminars on intellectual property rights and regulatory issues are held in conjunction with the annual Intellectual Property & Legal Committee forum. Other legal issues related to broadcasting are also deliberated by eminent speakers and industry practitioners, with the objective of enlightening members, and participants.

The Committee is hosted by ABU members on a rotation basis in different countries annually.

The Terms of Reference of the Copyright Committee and Forum can be found here.

+ - Executives

Mr. Suranga Jayalath
Chairperson, IPLC (2023 – 2025)
Group Director, The Capital Maharaja Organization Limited, Sri Lanka
Mr. Zhang Zhao
Vice Chairperson, IPLC (2023 – 2025)

Senior Professor, China Media Group, China

Mr. Haruyuki Ichinohashi
Vice Chairperson, IPLC (2023 – 2025)

NHK Copyright and Contracts Division

+ - 29th ABU Intellectual Property & Legal Committee

The 29th Intellectual Property and Legal Committee (IPLC) took place physically on 29th and 30th May, 2023 in Colombo, Sri Lanka after a hiatus of 2.5 years. It was hosted by ABU’s additional full member Capital Maharaja Group (represented by MTV and MBC). The theme for this year’s IPLC was “New Developments in IP & Media Law and Impact on Broadcasters”.  This theme was chosen keeping in mind the fast-changing regulatory developments pertaining to media and broadcast sector post COVID-19. The two-day event was intended to cater to various legal needs of ABU members. It was also aimed towards creating awareness on intellectual property rights (especially copyright) amongst ABU members. The first day of the IPLC was a closed session meant only for ABU’s Full Members, Additional Full Members and Associate Members.  On the first day, important matters of interest to ABU members (pertaining to the working and functioning of IPLC) were discussed. The IPLC meeting also elected the chairperson and vice-chairpersons as the term of the current office bearers ended in 2023. Mr. Suranga B.M. Jayalath from Capital Maharaja Group (the host) and Mr. Zhang Zhao from China Media Group were re-elected as the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of IPLC respectively for another two-year term i.e. from 2023 till 2025. Mr. Haruyuki Ichinohashi from NHK Japan was elected as the second Vice-Chairperson of IPLC for the first time and for a period of two years i.e. from 2023 till 2025.

The second day of the IPLC was the forum or the conference where presentations on contemporary legal topics were made by eminent lawyers, legal professionals and other experts on matters related to media and broadcasting sector. The IPLC forum was divided into four sessions: (i) Protection of Broadcast Signals: Legal Approaches; (ii) Law and Journalism; (iii) Emerging Technologies & Media Sector; (iv) Media Regulation Post COVID-19.

The next IPLC will take place in March 2024 on the side lines of ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium.  It will be a two-day event. Day One will be the IPLC Forum (conference). The first-half of Day Two will be the IPLC Meeting i.e. a closed meeting of ABU members while the second-half of Day Two will be a master class on legal ethics, media law, and journalism. IPLC 2024 will be a physical event and there will be no option for remote participation (except for exceptional cases). For any recommendations related to the theme for next year’s IPLC or agenda items to be covered, please send an email to ABU Legal Manager at